Heaven and Earth
Heaven And Earth
Hole In The Rain,
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The current, Brits-endorsed interpretation of folk music, in which well-heeled young people dress as canal workers and sing about imagined old times, doesn't really legislate for someone like John Martyn.
I've spent the last week feasting on John Martyn via Spotify. He was a gap in my musical education. He turns out, as a large portion of you reading already well know, to be a rich, raw talent. I knew his rep but had a misguided notion he was another blueprint for whiny contemporary singer-songwriters. All that reveals is my own ignorance.
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John Martyn's valedictory recordings have a suitably weary presence that makes even such legendary laidback soporificos as J J Cale and Leonard Cohen seem positively sprightly by comparison.
Two years after his death, the final recordings by the ground-breaking Glaswegian are released.
Although now regularly cited as an influence by many (and audibly so), it is over three decades since Martyn's career was at a peak, but technology has since made copying his technical innovations possible, and his vocal range –from light-voiced yearning to blues growl– is the aim of many.
Beverley Martyn has a pinched and brow-beaten look about her and orders a non-alcoholic drink. She's just published an autobiography, Sweet Honesty, her life with the cantankerous troubadour she met in 1969, performed and recorded with and, eventually, married and divorced. He died in 2009.
BEHIND THE MUSIC WITH HI-FI NEWS & RECORD REVIEW
Now on 180g vinyl, this unlikely fusion of jazz and folk is winning new fans nearly 40 years after its first release. Steve Sutherland recalls a meeting with John Martyn.
Live At Leeds may unsettle latter-day fans of John Martyn who have belatedly discovered the great man via the tasteful posthumous compilation.
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Singular singer-songwriter in his pomp and expanded.